I am very grateful to Ms. Leila Djansi, I know, I cannot keep her name out of my mouth because yes, over the past year, she has done me a lot of favors! That is the whole point. Locations for my school projects, cast, and my internship over the summer. I hope you all now understand why I keep on about her. She has gotten me hooked up with a number of African and African American stars who are striving in Hollywood to share their success stories and give us some insight into life in Hollywood. I think our actors back home need this insight as it is their desire to break in. Expect huge surprises from now till December as I hook you up with some great names in the industry. I will start though with stars from Africa.
One of my favorite stars from our very own backyard is Sammi Rotibi. He is simply a delight and I cannot get enough of him. He has done it with some of the best; Nicholas Cage, Bruce Willis.
Enjoy 10 questions for Sammi Rotibi!!!
JDO:How did you get into Acting?
SR: l got in to acting because of a talent agent that kept insisting l give it a shot. l used to work at a commercial bank in miami, florida, while l was in school and one of our customers is a talent agency. l decided to give it a try and l found out that you have more fun, treated nice and make good money doing it. l didn’t really get deep into it until l moved to Los Angeles, California and got involved in a theater group and did a play on stage . l fell in love. lt was the most amazing experience of my life. And that’s where it all really started.
JDO: It is very few persons of African descent who have found mainstream success in Hollywood, what do you attribute to your success?
SR: l think l have being successful, to a point, by not loosing my identity. Being proud of my heritage and my culture. Because that’s what l am. African first. l think a lot people come here and loose themselves and get caught up in the hype or try to be somebody else. You have to remember, people like you for who you are not somebody you’re pretending to be. You have to have a foundation. Centered. That’s where you grow from.
JDO: Spot on Sammi! Not loosing you identity. Keeping yourself original. That is a tip I think a lot of actors at home need to hear. Do you watch movies from home?
SR: Not that often.
JDR: what is your opinion on movies from home?
SR: l have seen some films from south africa and Nigeria. l think we need better equipments and technology, because the potential is there.
JDR: Any plans of working in Africa?
SR: Of course l would love to work in Africa. As long as the script is good and we have a professional crew. l’m always interested in working with different creative directors. And also in a safe and comfortable environment.
JDR: what was it like working with Nicholas cage and Bruce Willis?
SR: l had an amazing time working with both Nic Cage and Bruce Willis. They both have a different working style, but l learned a lot from both of them. Also about the business of the industry. Which is so important for any actor to know. They were both great teachers and good people. lt was my
honor to work with them.
JDR: what advice do you have for those trying to break into Hollywood from back home?
SR: l would say you really really have to want to do it Because there’ s no guarantee and there’s a lot of rejections. You just have to have a tough skin and know what your goal is and keep on striving. For me, l’m happiest when l’m on the set doing a movie or on stage. it’s like no other feeling in the world for me. The best drug ever. lt’s mind, body and soul. Period.
JDR: How easy is it to find work?
SR: (LAUGHS LOUDLY) … it’s never easy to find work . Especially now the way the economy is. There’s very few projects being green lit. And there lot’s of actors trying out for the same roles. But l have a good team of managers and agent behind me. So it helps.
JDR: what are your favorite movies?
SR: My favorite movies are mostly drama, suspense and action. Like , ‘Lord of War’,The Godfather, ‘There will be blood’ ( with one of my favorite actors, Daniel Day Lewis), American Gangster (w/ Denzle W)Finding Neverland ( with Johnny depp), etc.
JDR: who is your favorite Director?
SR: l don’t have one favorite director . l like them all. As long as they’re being creative , know how to work with actors and have a vision of the entire story and how they’re are going to shoot it.
JDR: Thank you so much Sammi, this has been lots and lots of fun
SR: l wish you all the best.
JDR: Thank you!
10 questions for Sammi Rotibi.
Coming up, more glam from Africa!!
Send me generic questions you’d like me to ask.
By Joy Della Ocloo EXCLUSIVE for nigeriafilms.com